## Archive for the 'Cool stuff' Category

### That's a Cold Shot, Babe

How to freeze water in about half a second

This is an example of supercooling – the process by which a very pure liquid is chilled to a temperature just below its usual freezing point without actually making the jump to its solid state. Bottled water is perfect for this, especially the kind that’s been purified via reverse osmosis, a process that strips water of all its particulates. This particulates can act as “seed crystals,” or “nuclei,” to which a liquid phase on the cusp of becoming solid can attach, and crystalize around. In this video, a seed crystal is introduced in the form of a cube of already-frozen water. As soon as it’s introduced, the liquid phase rapidly crystallizes and attaches to the solid one, kicking off a chain reaction of ice-formation.

I think you’ll have to agree that this is pretty frikkin’ awesome.

### Coordinate Transformation, OMG Edition

Solving 3 Rubik’s Cubes…while juggling them.

### What Has it Gots in its Pockets? Nothing!

More Apollo Robbins

… because I’d buy a B9 Lost in Space robot. Because it’s under $25,000! via Bad Astronomy, (where there is a video, which I can’t seem to embed in the post. Due to Dr. Smith’s meddling, no doubt) ### Catch-12 (3 quadrocopters = 12 rotors) To toss the ball, the quadrocopters accelerate rapidly outward to stretch the net tight between them and launch the ball up. Notice in the video that the quadrocopters are then pulled forcefully inward by the tension in the elastic net, and must rapidly stabilize in order to avoid a collision. Once recovered, the quadrotors cooperatively position the net below the ball in order to catch it. Because they are coupled to each other by the net, the quadrocopters experience complex forces that push the vehicles to the limits of their dynamic capabilities. ### Don't Take a Slice of My Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai Canada’s New Quarters Will Have Glow-in-the-Dark Dinosaurs on Them Each of the quarters, which will retail for$29.99, will feature an image of a Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai, a dinosaur discovered in Alberta. But take it into the closet under the stairs or wherever your favored glow-in-the-dark viewing site is, and the creature’s skeleton glows.

But hey, we have presidential dollars that you can buy for \$2. And they’re invisible. You don’t see any in circulation, do you?

### Boom Boom

The disposal of drums of sodium into Lake Lenore, an alkaline lake in the Grand Coulee area of eastern Washington State, in 1947 by the War Assets Administration.

Wanna dispose of some sodium? Na.

[A]fter WWII, the US government found they had some extra sodium no one wanted, so they disposed of it.
In a lake. Full of water. And by the way, it was ten tons of pure sodium.

Safety and environmental impact disclaimer

Oh, and all that surplus WWII sodium? While that would destroy the ecology of a lake, in this case it was already a heavily alkaline lake with no fish in it. While I wouldn’t say this was a great thing to do, at least they thought to minimize the impact. But cripes: don’t try this at home.

### Time Lapse: Crater Lake

Time lapse: Crater Lake

The part where you can see the night sky reflection off the lake is especially cool.

### The Bourne Discourse

I think it’s unfortunate that the wackaloon celebrities get virtually all the airtime, so it’s refreshing for me to see an actor who can articulate a point and think on his feet. I’m sure (or at least hope) there are others out there, and we just don’t get to see them often enough.

His point about the “intrinsically paternalistic view of problems that are much more complex than that” is spot-on. Just because some people do things for money doesn’t mean that’s what drives everyone.